Research Heraldry Herb Ostoja
Herbarz Polski translation
For each herb [clan shield, coat of arms] the blazon or verbal description of the arms is first given in authentic heraldic style, followed by a translation from the Polish description by Niesiecki. The right and left sides of a shield are identified from the standpoint of the bearer, i. e., the one holding the shield. His right would be your left and vice versa. The tinctures (colors) in heraldry are as follows: azure = blue, gules = red; sable = black; or = gold, argent = silver; vert = green. In heraldry all charges (pictures) on a shield are assumed to be facing dexter (right side) unless otherwise specified. In Polish heraldry all animals or birds are assumed to be in their natural coloring unless otherwise specified.
Arms: gules, between an increscent and decrescent or, a sword erect argent, the hilt and pommel to chief of the second. Mantled of his liveries and out of a crest coronet, five ostrich plumes proper.
There should be two crescent moons of gold, back to back, each with one point at the top and the other at the bottom. Between them is a sword of silver with a broken tip, hilt upward, tip downward, all within a red field. Atop the helmet are five ostrich plumes.
Thus it is described by Bielski in his work on p. 253, and by Paprocki in Gmazdo cnoty, p. 301 and p. 1199, in O herbach on p. 283, by Okolski, vol. 2, p. 357, and in Klejnoty, p. 71. Petrasancta, chapter 59, says that many houses in Austria and Styria use two moons back to back, but without the sword.
According to the consensus of our writers, these arms' origin date from the rule of King Boleslaw the Bold. For when the foe invaded Poland, a colonel named Ostoja was sent out to fight them with a small force; having received word from sentries of the approaching foe, he quietly stole up to the enemy camp and cut down the guards so that none of them escaped either the sword or shackles. One of those captured, seeking mercy in his captivity, promised Ostoja under oath that he would help him win a greater victory. He was released and went straight back to his camp; saying nothing of the first guards' defeat, he urged his commander to send them reinforcements, and in far greater numbers. Ostoja made certain that he surrounded them on all sides and none could escape his sword; that night, after he had joined up with a second, nearer company, he attacked the enemy camp. They were all terrified, so that some fell under the sword, while others, fleeing from their pursuers to the nearby woods, to save their lives, disappeared. For this deed Ostoja was granted these arms and provided a sizable estate, and even the captive who helped him to victory was granted the same arms and freedom. In his Ogród Paprocki describes a different basis for the origins of these arms, and Okolski also mentions it; but it has so little verisimilitude that it is omitted here.
From these arms came later those called Przegonia; in addition many houses in Poland, due to the similarity in arms, refer sometimes to one, sometimes the other. Okolski says in Vol. 2, p. 230, that the Ciamart family in Siedmiogród district [a region in Transylvania, now in Romania] uses arms similar to Ostoja in its seal, i.e., with two moons back to back, over which there is a cross arranged so that it doesn't touch the moons; Elzbieta, wife of Jeremia Mohilo, Palatine of Wallachia, was of this family.
Bearers of These Arms
[Added by the 19th century editor, Bobrowicz:] In addition to the families listed here, Kuropatnicki, Malachowski, and Wieladek and others give these families in their armorials as also using these arms:
Bukowski, Dubkowski, Glebocki, Godziszewski, Kresz, Moscisz, Nagorczewski, Nagorka,Skrzyszewski, Slupski, Stachler Steblecki, Zajarski Zlociszewski
Copyright © 1998 Leonard J. Suligowski. Used by permission. This article originally appeared in Rodziny (August 1998), the journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America.;